American Academy of Religion

Right now I’m sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting to start the long cross-country trek. This was a fun conference since I did not have to present, chair a session, or do anything but show up. I attended two sessions sponsored by the Colloquium on Religion and Violence, which deals primarily with the philosophy of Rene Girard, whom I used in my dissertation. One paper was a fascinating discussion of the movie the Dark Knight in terms of Girard. The author convinced me that we should not view the end of the movie in terms of Christ’s vicarious atonement, the way some evangelicals have, but rather as a satanic (in Girard’s sense) escalation of scapegoating. The key to the argument is that The Batman chooses to hide the truth in order to preserve the civil order instead of unmasking the violence that has corrupted the highest echelons of public order. Batman and the Joker are locked in a mimemic rivalry in which each defines the other. The Christlike sacrifice in the movie is actually when the prisoner on the ferry chooses death rather than killing innocent people.

I also attended a very erudite session on the church historian Eusebius, which gave me lots to think about regarding how Eusebius used earlier sources in creating his narrative of the church.

Julie came with me, and we had time to enjoy the city. It’s my fourth time to SF and I never get tired of the Cable Cars. This time one broke and we got to see them replace the clutch that holds the cable. There’s a sermon in there!  We also went to the Seal Rocks. I’ll put the pictures on Facebook. Of course we ate roasted crab at Fisherman’s Wharf. I really want an action figure of Worf from SNG dressed as a fisherman now. We also drank Irish Coffee in a pub looking at the Bay. Beautiful!

Now we’re homeward bound. Over six hours in planes today, but soon we’ll be back with our daughters for Thanksgiving. There is so much to be grateful for, especially this year.

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